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This is a question Cheap Tat

OneEyedMonster remindes us about the crap you can buy in pound shops: "Batteries that lasted about an hour and then died. A screwdriver with a loose handle so I couldn't turn the damn screw, and a tape measure which wasn't at all accurate."

Similarly, my neighbour bought a lawnmower from Argos that was so cheap the wheels didn't go round, it sort of skidded over the grass whilst gently back-combing it.

What's the cheapest, most useless crap you've bought?

(, Fri 4 Jan 2008, 7:26)
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Cheap Holidays
My parents like anyone always have their eye out for a bargain. When I was in my teens and therefore sick of cheap camping type holidays, I wanted to go somewhere sophisticated, stylish, somewhere I could brag about to my friends.

So my mother saw a week long holiday to Mayrhofen, Austria during the ski season.

Sophisticated! Stylish!

And all for £45!!

Okay so none of us skied...

None of us had decent winter gear...

But it was £45 for a week in a posh(ish) hotel in Austria!

So after my parents had spent a few hundred pounds on ski jackets, hiking/snow boots, new woolly hats, gloves, and so on, we were finally ready to set off on our exciting Cheap winter holiday.

We'd never had a Winter holiday before.

We were flying to France and then a coach would take us on to Austria.

We were flying from Lydd airport. Yes, Lydd.


It's on the Romney Marsh and not that far from Camber Sands in East Sussex. It's flat, very flat around there and on the Marsh the folk have webbed feet.

Anyway, the flatness of the area means it's prone to fog.

Our flight was cancelled because Lydd was fog bound. But not to worry, a coach would be despatched and we would be taken to another international airport instead. Manston.

At the time we lived not far from Manston. Lydd is about 45 miles from Manston, we were going to be driving on a coach back home.

The coach arrived and it was held together by old bus tickets, camel dung and string.

All the luggage was loaded into the boot, we passengers were loaded into our seats and off we set down the potholed road out of Lydd.

We had gone about 100 yards when someone started to shout from the back...the door to the coach's boot had opened and all the luggage was strewn out on the road behind us.

Luggage collected, journey safely completed to Manston, we arrived at the airport.

And we sat outside in the coach. All of us. A plane load.


Because no one at Manston appeared to know we were coming. There was no plane ready.

Eventually after some strong words were exchanged we were allowed to get on board a flight. This was a chartered flight and not a scheduled one so things had been organised pretty swiftly, but it also meant that the speed of change over had removed the opportunity to restock the plane with drinks or any duty frees. Not a problem really, my parents had already spent the spending money on the ski wear (did I mention we don't ski?).

At long last the plane taxis down the runway (coincidentally Manston has one of the longest runways in the UK and was at one time on the list of emergency runways for the US Space Shuttle to land should it need to abort).
The plane goes faster and faster.
The plane begins to shake from the speed.
The nose of the plane begins to lift.
Slowly the plane tilts back as it hurtles along faster and faster.
The door to the cockpit flies open....the catch had given way and we are treated to the view of the pilot and co-pilot wrestling with the controls (I'm sure what they were doing was entirely normal, but to the untrained eye it appeared they were physically pulling us up into the air). As the plane continues to climb the door flaps open and shakes along with the passengers.

The remainder of the flight passed without a hitch...well, until we were circling over Calais airport.

Yes, for those of you familiar with the geography of the Nord Pas De Calais region (most of Kent comes into it according to Brussels)..Calais is approximately 35 miles from Manston (as the crow flies) or approximately 45 or so by road and ferry. Yes, it would have been simpler to have used the road and ferry, but this was all for £45!!

Calais was like Lydd - fog bound.

We had to fly onto Brussels. Where, like Manston, they didn't know we were arriving. We had to argue at the passport control that we were all entering the country.

Then we had to wait a few hours until our coach turned up.

Then at last we were on our way, overnight to Austria. On a coach.

We did no skiing.

I knew why we had never been on a winter holiday before - unless you are skiing snow is cold, wet and often quite miserable.

Everyone around us was having a fantastic time. Skiing.

But it all cost only £45.

My parents have never been on a winter holiday since.
(, Mon 7 Jan 2008, 22:41, 1 reply)
you have earned......
......a HUGE *click*
(, Tue 8 Jan 2008, 10:25, closed)

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